Since the beginning of the modern-day superhero explosion, every year a new comic book character has seemingly gotten their time in the spotlight. This year it was Harley Quinn and Deadpool’s moment in the sun, as both characters carried their respective debuts to over $700 million dollars in worldwide ticket sales. In the near future there will be even more notable adaptations of fan-favorite characters, such as the Vulture, Cable, and Deathstroke the Terminator.
Last month, Ben Affleck tweeted test footage of Deathstroke from the set of the Justice League. The clip set the internet on fire and created a whirlwind of unanswered questions, such as: Which movie would he make his debut in? And who would actually be playing the iconic villain?
While the former question has yet to be answered, the casting of Magic Mike’s Joe Manganiello as the one-eyed assassin Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, was confirmed soon after. The actor hasn’t commented extensively on his casting, but he has taken to Twitter to share his excitement. And it seems that he isn’t the only one enthusiastic over his casting, as Deathstroke co-creator Marv Wolfman tweeted his approval of the news directly to Manganiello.
Wolfman is a legendary name in the world of comics, as he has had his hand in shaping some of the most iconic characters and storylines ever made. In 1980, he and artist George Perez created Deathstroke, when he made his first appearance in The New Teen Titans in 1980 and the villain quickly made an impression. The genetically enhanced mercenary began as the Titans’ main adversary, before eventually graduating to the pages of Batman, the Justice League, and beyond.
Over the past few years, DC has steadily boosted Deathstroke’s visibility with prominent appearances in comics, on television (Arrow), and in video games (Batman: Arkham Knight), in preparation of his big-screen debut. While recent signs seem to point to Manganiello’s debut being in Justice League, there are rumors that the character will have a prominent role in Ben Affleck’s solo Batman film. Either way it will be some time before we will find out if Manganiello is the right fit for the role.
While Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman’s creators have all passed on, many of the newer characters getting big-screen adaptations still have their original makers around to give their approval or disappointment. This year, Warner Bros has been fortunate enough to have the support of Suicide Squad’s John Ostrander and Harley Quinn mastermind Paul Dini, who both gave varying levels of support to their cinematic versions. However, there definitely have been creators in the past who were displeased with how their stories were translated to live action. So hopefully, Wolfman’s enthusiasm for the casting of Manganiello is cause for celebration.
Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters. Wonder Woman opens in theaters on June 2, 2017, followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash, The Batman solo movie, Dark Universe and Man of Steel 2 are currently without a release dates.